The University of The Third Age (U3A) is a registered charity that exists under The Third Age Trust, to promote the well-being of older people who are retired or no longer in full-time paid employment.
Originally founded in Toulouse, France in 1972 as the Université du Troiseme Age, under the leadership of Pierre Vellas, U3A activities have spread far and wide and branches are now to be found throughout the world. Here in Carrick, where our membership of U3A Carrick is around 900 members, and still growing, we take our name from the nearby Carrick Roads, a large inland river estuary and natural harbour in Cornwall, between Falmouth and St Mawes.
The Aims of the Third Age Trust:
1. To encourageand enable older people no longer in full-time paid employment to help each other to share their knowledge, skills, interests and experience.
2. To demonstrate the benefits and enjoyment to be gained and the new horizons to be discovered in learning throughout life.
3. To celebrate the capabilities and potential of older people and their value to society.
4. To make Universities of the Third Age (U3As) accessible to all older people.
5. To encourage the establishment of U3As in every part of the country where conditions are suitable and to support and collaborate with them.
The Objectives of the Third Age Trust are to:
1. Provide national support to the Universities of the Third Age in the UK.
2. Provide support and advice to potential new member U3As and seek to start new groups in areas where the U3A movement is under-represented.
3. Raise the profile of the movement both nationally and internationally.
Third Age Trust on the web:
Why not log on to the Trust's website at www.u3a.org.uk where you can find numerous links to U3A Groups and their activities across the United Kingdom and further afield. The site also has a wide range of activities in their Members' section, where as a paid up member of a U3A Group, you are invited to create an account for yourself by registering a User Name and Password, also listing your U3A Group affiliation. Registration offers a range of additional services such as regional links, U3A events, shared learning projects, a message board and members' forums, not forgetting the online shop, offering U3A branded goods, publicity materials and handbooks. For chargable items, you may pay by cheque, credit card or PayPal, or have goods shipped with invoice.
Whilst you are logged into the Members' section, a further link allows Group Leaders to sign up to the U3A Resource Centre, with its extensive catalogue of materials, available on loan to support group activities. They have an online catalogue which may be consulted, once you are registered, from which items may be selected and reserved.
Elizabeth Gibson runs this very efficient and helful at the Third Age Trust offices in Bromley, Kent. They hold an extensive list of DVDs, CDs, videos and slides that may be lent out to Group Leaders in individual U3As. These include such subjects as Philosophy, History, Science, Gardening and Music. U3A Carrick has used these resouces to good effect over past months. Contact Elizabeth to request a list from the Third Age Trust. Materials arrive by post and may be used for three weeks. The only expense is the cost of return postage.
The Third Age Trust's Annual Conference and AGM:
This event returns to the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham "Learn, Laugh and Live" 13th - 16th September Click here for more details
An update from Ian Searle - Still a trustee:
Well, I handed over the chairmanship of the Third Age Trust to Barbara Lewis in September and since then I have failed to update this page on the Carrick website. There is a good reason, as many people know, in that my wife and I have been busy with a whole series of hospital visits and consultations so my mind has been somewhat distracted. I have not actually attended any NEC meetings since September. I have kept in touch by email and telephone only.
I mentioned in my last report that I would be making an announcement at the AGM (of the Trust, that is) but I never said what it was. It was, in fact, the invitation I had accepted on behalf of the U3A movement for some of our U3A members to join schoolchildren in a debate in the House of Lords. That took place in early December and was a great success, over 100 members took part in the debate on who should care for the elderly in society, government, family or voluntary agencies. The majority decided the government was the most well fitted to do so.
It proved impossible for everyone who wanted to take part in the debate, even some who were actually in attendance in the Chamber had no opportunity to speak. One consequence, which we might consider here in Cornwall, is that some groups, one such being Bromley U3A, decided to set up a similar debate for themselves. They have accordingly contacted the Borough Education Officer and are now setting up a debate which will involve children from Bromley secondary schools as well as U3A members. Their theme, I believe, is to be on the provision of education not just for schoolchildren but also for older people. It might be a good idea to set up a similar debate or series of debates involving sixth formers and/or students in this part of the country, thus helping to establish an inter-generational relationship to the benefit of all.
Also being planned at present, apart from the regular ‘Summer Schools’, are two major events for 2013. The most important is probably the now bi-annual National Conference to be held in Nottingham again at the wonderful Conference Centre we used in 2011. This is the last one to which I shall be invited as a trustee and I shall simply not be able to afford to go to any more (unless, of course, Carrick’s committee sees fit to nominate me as a voting representative and pay for me, as many U3As already do.) The second event is the first ‘Founders Lecture’ to be given by Eric Midwinter, an event which will be entertaining and thought-provoking.
A major interest for me over the past six months has been the supervision of the online courses. The three new ones are up and running very successfully and the online discussion that has been provoked so far is amazing. It includes such observations as the means the Vikings used to navigate from Norway to Shetland more than a thousand years ago, and whether the nationalistic enthusiasm to volunteer for the First World War would be echoed today in a multicultural society. The social history of the decade before Victoria came to the throne is also attracting many people. Altogether, including the fourteen or fifteen who are also subscribed to the repeat ‘Short Stories Course’, there are more than sixty people currently taking part in these courses. Meanwhile I have been busy negotiating with one or two people who may write new courses, one on criminology, another on the individual in a global society. Additionally at a meeting held in London in January there was general approval of a plan to introduce in-depth study groups online, using a virtual classroom, if who know what that means. So I have not been totally idle.
One very recent development has been the decision at last to discontinue the bulk delivery of Third Age Matters. By far the majority of U3As have signed up for direct mailing, and bulk delivery has been very expensive to maintain for the rest, including Carrick, and has proved ineffective for many. Often the magazines, set out at meetings, are simply left behind. Our advertisers who pay for the printing of the five copies per year do so because they know copies go directly into the hands of thousands of members. Meanwhile, apart from the cost of bulk mailing, the sheer inconvenience of someone in each U3A having to collect heavy boxes of magazines and transport them, let alone the far more difficult job in a small, understaffed National Office, for five women, who have to lug the heavy boxes around and sort the contents, has led to the discontinuation of the practice. The National Office has received hundreds of letters approving the new format of the magazine, and I for one think it is worth the cost of the postage.
In March I shall return to my place on the Board after six months away. It may seem a little strange, since several new trustees are strangers to me. I shall do my best to contribute positively to the work of the Trust until September, when my trusteeship ends at last. It will seem very strange.
Ian Searle, February 2013
West Cornwall Neighbourhood Meeting:
About twice a year, representatives of the ten U3As in West Cornwall get together to discuss matters of common interest. On October 30th, our newly elected South West Regional Trustee, Marion Clements attended the meeting, chaired by Margaret Hopkins of Helston. There were U3A delegates from Wadebridge, St. Austell, Helston, Newquay, Carrick and Lands End groups. During the meeting Margaret Hopkins declared she was unable to continue chairing this regional support group and Duncan Tribute was voted to take over the chair for future meetings.
The South West Support Group will be meeting once again on February 19th at Richard Lander School.
Webmaster: Duncan Tribute (01872) 260792